21 September 2011

Contradictions in the Bible: An analysis by book

I promised in my last post that I would create and analyze a Boring Index for the books of the Bible, and I'll to get to that. But first, I thought I'd go through the categories in the SAB and do unto them as I did to the absurdities. So here it is for the contradictions.
(Thanks for the suggestions in the comments on the plots.)

First I'll plot the number of contradictions in each book by testament.

Notice that the gospels have the most contradictions in the New Testament, as does Genesis in the Old. No big surprise there. But they are also rather big books. What happens if we take size into account?

We can do that with the Contradiction Index, which is just the number of contradictions per 100 verses. Here's what that looks like.

There are some surprises here. James is the most contradictory book of the New Testament, with Malachi taking the gold in the Old.

And here's a log-log plot of the number of contradictions versus the number of verses.

And now on to cruelty!


Tony said...

I'm curious about the most self-contradictory book. I understand that Malachi might contradict something (say) in Genesis but what would be really damning is if Malachi contradicts Malachi.

Andrew Hall said...

Hey, I didn't see the blogger share buttons. It would help so that I could tweet this to my followers.

Steve Wells said...

Good question, Tony. I'm interested in that, too. I plan to do an analysis of the contradictions between books. Which books are contradicted the most by James for example? Romans? 1 Corinthians? Galatians? Deuteronomy? That will be fun. (But also a lot of work.)

As for self-contradictions in Malachi, well, I don't know of any. But since it only has 10 contradictions (in its 50 or so verses), it shouldn't be too hard to find out. (I've added links in the post to the list of contradictions for Malachi and James.)

Ken Bagwell said...

In doing a bible study, I came across 'The skeptics bible'. Actually, it's a pretty good resource! But you really owe it to yourself to look at the 'Christian responses' links at the very bottom. To play this game(honestly and fairly) you have to search out what other learned men have said about these 'contradictions' - Christians who really know the bible. It's very easy to flummox an layman with stuff like this and give yourself a false sense of security.

Unknown said...

Nice site. I have always seen Gen. 1 & 2 as two separate stories. Gen 1 where God creates male and female in his image and Gen 2 where 1 man is created from the dust of the earth and put to work in a garden. The fact that god tried to find a helpmate from the animals that were created after Adams creation tells me Adam was considered a subhuman worker. When they (gods) realized that there was no bird or land animal ( note no mention of the creatures of the sea in this second account) who was a suitable meta/helper for Adam. The rib part that Eve was supposedly made from never made sense to me until one day the words ribonucleic acid came to me. Eve was a little bit of Adam and possibly a little part the gods of Gen 2. I continue to look for answers but since you know there are two separate creation accounts in Gen 1 & 2 I just thought I'd share this with you. I'd be interested in your thoughts.

Unknown said...

Dang, let me correct a few things:When they (gods) realized that there was no bird or land animal ( note no mention of the creatures of the sea in this second account) who was a suitable mate/helper for Adam they went a step further and made a hybrid who resembled Adam.

Unknown said...

I wonder why people don't find the contradiction's of Socrates, Plato or Buddha so compelling? Why do people that don't even believe in God or Christ have to use scripture to prove their point? Do you know that Christ never wrote a word of the Bible? Only others wrote about Him. Tell me of another great man that didn't find a need to write his own teachings, but were assured that their words would change the world. Whoever this man was he definitely has stood the test of time which is more than this blog or any of us who have comment on it will. There is no contradicting that!

Unknown said...

The reason, Mr May is because Socrates, Plato and Buddha are known to be human and none among them claimed to be anything more than that.

Many folk do not know that jesus did not write the new testament, however the old testament at least (and the entire bible in some cases) is taught to be, if not the actual word(s) of god, then at least the 'divinely inspired' words of god.
Considering the sheer number of contradictions in the old testament, I find it unlikely that either of the claims are true. That there is a divine being and anything written by man came from said being.